GP100, S&W 66 or SP101?
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Old 01-09-2009, 03:31 AM   #1
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Default GP100, S&W 66 or SP101?

I'm looking for a .357 wheelgun with a 3" barrel for daily carry. I've been carrying a S&W 640 in .38, but while I love the little snubbie and I've become quite accurate with it, I want something bigger and with more power.

In Argentina hollow point bullets are forbidden for defensive use (which means I can't load my 640 with any of the good +P stuff). I use a S&W 686 with a 4" barrel for home defense and outdoors carry, but it's too big for daily use. Climate down here is quite warm, a fleece vest or a sweater are the heaviest clothes I wear (and I take them off as soon as I get to work). A 3" barrel gun in .357 seems like a good compromise.

I've been looking at a used S&W 66, which feels great in my hand and has a sweet double action trigger pull. But I don't know if it's as strong as the Rugers (I plan to practice a lot with it, using magnum ammo 95% of the time), and the adjustable sights might not be ideal for a concealed carry revolver. I know 3" barrel 66's are somewhat rare.

For about the same amount of money I can get a new GP100 or SP101, I only have experience with Ruger single actions, but the general consensus is that their double action guns are built like tanks. The GP100 would be my first choice, 6 shots and a bit more weight. Is the SP101 much easier to conceal? I'd trade a round for a significant increase in comfort (plus, I intend to pocket carry my 640 as a BUG).

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Old 01-09-2009, 04:04 AM   #2
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SP101 all the way!

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Old 01-09-2009, 04:22 AM   #3
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+1

It's hard to beat the SP-101. Great revolver.

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Old 01-09-2009, 01:52 PM   #4
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Any of the medium frame revolvers you mention will eventually have some issues if you shoot alot of magnums. By alot I mean 500+ a year. I do not care for the 66 as it has a lot of sharp edges to snag your draw. I prefer the M-65 Smith. 3" round butt w/heavy barrel. Less snag prone than the 66 but same cylinder. Heavy barrel helps with recoil control.
Smith & Wesson uses forged steel frames. Ruger uses investment cast. Pound for pound, forged is stronger. The Smith and the Ruger are of comparable strength but the Smith is lighter/more compact.

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Old 01-09-2009, 04:01 PM   #5
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While I like my GP-100 and SP-101, the GP-100 is a little big and the SP-101 has fixed sights. I prefer adjustable sights, that is why I really like my S&W Model 60 Pro. It is a 3" barrel J frame .357 mag with adjustable sights. It is a great gun, but I doubt if it has the endurance of a Ruger SP-101.

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Old 01-09-2009, 11:38 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robocop10mm View Post
Any of the medium frame revolvers you mention will eventually have some issues if you shoot alot of magnums. By alot I mean 500+ a year.
Is 500+ rounds a year a lot? I shoot a minimum 50 magnum rounds a week, usually 100.

Thanks for all the suggestions, but I forgot to mention that these three models are the only revolvers available with a 3" barrel in my city (probably in my country as well), so I've got to settle for one of them.
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Old 01-10-2009, 06:03 PM   #7
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I think you will be well served by any of them. I was going to recommend the Smith & Wesson Model 13 or 65 in 3-inch until I read your regional limitations.

For daily carry I would have to +1 the SP101.

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Old 01-10-2009, 06:03 PM   #8
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Respectfully I MUST disagree with you on the GP100. It's the strongest .357 on the market, and I've personally got 1 with somewhere well over 30,000 rounds through it with nary a single problem, and it's still going strong. No timing, lockup, or cylinder alignment issues whatsoever.






Quote:
Originally Posted by robocop10mm View Post
Any of the medium frame revolvers you mention will eventually have some issues if you shoot alot of magnums. By alot I mean 500+ a year. I do not care for the 66 as it has a lot of sharp edges to snag your draw. I prefer the M-65 Smith. 3" round butt w/heavy barrel. Less snag prone than the 66 but same cylinder. Heavy barrel helps with recoil control.
Smith & Wesson uses forged steel frames. Ruger uses investment cast. Pound for pound, forged is stronger. The Smith and the Ruger are of comparable strength but the Smith is lighter/more compact.
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Old 01-10-2009, 10:01 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stalkingbear View Post
Respectfully I MUST disagree with you on the GP100. It's the strongest .357 on the market, and I've personally got 1 with somewhere well over 30,000 rounds through it with nary a single problem, and it's still going strong. No timing, lockup, or cylinder alignment issues whatsoever.
Now that's a bit more encouraging!

I haven't seen the GP in person yet, but I've been told it's roughly the size of my S&W 686. I've handled the SP101 and it seemed quite easy to carry, but the store only had one left with a 3" barrel and it was a .38.

They told me they could order one for me, but the paperwork would take a while, which is fine, since I'm not in a hurry. I'll take a look at the GP100 on monday, if it's too big I'll order the SP101 (and get the GP with a longer barrel if I like it!).
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Old 01-13-2009, 03:25 AM   #10
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I have a 3" Ruger SP101 that I often use for concealed. It is usually loaded with Winchester 110 grain jacket hollow point magnums, unless I'm out in the woods. Then it's loaded with 140 grain silvertips.

I have never heard of an SP101 wearing out. You can shoot the heck out of them.

The GP100 is a great FULL sized combat gun, but even in its 3" variation, it's a big gun.

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